Cover Crops: No-Till

Cover Crops: No-Till

Cover Crops: No-Till

Soil health benefits are often enhanced when using cover crops in combination with no-till.

Using Cover Crops to Convert to No-till


This fact sheet explains how growing cover crops can help farmers adapt faster to a continuous no-till system.

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Cover Crops and No-Till Management for Organic Systems


This Rodale Institute fact sheet reviews the use of cover crops and no-till in organic systems, including selection, establishment and mechanical termination of cover crops; crop rotations; and energy and production budgets.

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Adding Cover Crops to a No-Till System


South Dakota farm manager Dan Forgey has improved soil quality and the bottom line by successfully introducing cover crops to his long-term no-till system.

Grant Puts (Good) Crimp in Farm Operations


It all began in 2002 with a $6,500 SARE grant and the seed of an idea: a no-till tractor implement that rolls, crimps and kills cover crops, creating a weed suppressing mulch.

Spring Seedbed Characteristics after Winter-Killed Cover Crops


Dr. Ray Weil and Natalie Lounsbury have been investigating the possibility of no-till planting early spring vegetables such as spinach and lettuce after a forage radish cover crop without the use of herbicides. They discuss soil moisture, temperature and nutrient status in early spring as well as seedling emergence and yield.

Reduced Tillage and Cover Cropping Systems for Organic Vegetable Production


This information sheet captures research by Virginia Tech and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming to develop cover crop-based, reduced-tillage systems for organic vegetable production.

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Invertebrate Pests and Their Natural Enemies in Conservation Tillage Cropping Systems


In this webinar by Dr. Mary Barbercheck and Maggie Douglas, learn the basics about key early-season insect and slug pests that can pose problems in conservation tillage systems with high amounts of cover crop residues and how crop management practices can help reduce pest damage. Also, learn about ongoing research into naturally-occurring predators of early season insects and slugs and how best to conserve them.

Optimizing Weed Suppression and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Cover Crop-Based No-Till Organic Corn


In this webinar, Hanna Poffenbarger of the University of Maryland and Steven Mirsky of the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agriculture Systems Lab discuss optimizing cover crop mixture composition and manure application to achieve weed suppression and adequate, efficient nitrogen delivery in a cover crop-based no-till corn system.

No-Till and Cover Crop Innovations Increase Dairy Profits


To help dairy farmers optimize overall forage production and quality, SARE-funded researchers led field trials and demonstrations in three New England states to determine the benefits of cover crops, no-till and shorter-season corn silage varieties. 

Integrating No-Till or Strip-Till with Cover Crops


Maximize soil conservation and soil health benefits of cover crops by combining this practice with no-till or strip-till systems.

Beyond Black Plastic


While the use of black plastic is allowed within organic agriculture, it is inherently unsustainable as it is a petroleum-based product and difficult to recycle.

This 24-page guide looks beyond plasticulture and evaluates the effects of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable farms.

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Video: Reduced Tillage Systems for Organic Vegetable Production


In this video, Iowa State University graduate student, Dana Jokela, talks about the research he conducted through an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant to compare no tillage, strip tillage, and conventional tillage in the organic production of broccoli and bell pepper to determine their effects on yield, soil health, and cropping system profitability.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

Dig deeper into cover crops research: SARE has funded hundreds of research and education projects related to cover crops since 1988. This topic room features only a glimpse into SARE's entire portfolio of cover crop research. To discover more, visit SARE's database of projects and conduct full text or advanced keyword searches.


Cover Crop Innovators Series

Watch 10 short videos of innovative Midwestern farmers describing how they have successfully added cover crops to their cash crop rotations. Learn more.


Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing the Cover Crop Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF) or the four-page topic brief, Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations.


Farmers Say Cover Crops Work

SARE-CTIC CC Survey Report Cover

During the fall of 2012, corn yields increased 9.6% when planted after a cover crop, compared to side-by-side fields with no cover crops, and soybean yields improved 11.6% following cover crops. Because of this, and witnessed improvements to soil and water quality, farmers across the Midwest are rapidly expanding their cover crop acreage.

Learn more about farmers' experiences with cover crops in the 2012-2013 Cover Crop Survey. Read a summary or download the full report.